Charlotte, 10, underwent eight-hour reconstructive surgery last week at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak and was released Wednesday.
It was the first of several procedures the child will endure to repair her nose, lips and right ear that were ravaged by a raccoon when she was 3 months old.
“She's doing great,” Charlotte's adoptive mom, Sharon, said from the hospital earlier this week. “It went very well. Her first surgery was to do the inside part of her nose.”
Pediatric plastic surgeon Kongrit Chaiyasate removed tissue from Charlotte's forearm to create a lining for her new nose, a delicate microsurgery that must ensure adequate blood flow for the relocated tissue.
Chaiyasate told the Ponce family that on a 1 to 10 scale of difficulty, he ranked Charlotte's procedure an 11, and one of the hardest he's ever performed.
Charlotte will return to the Detroit-area hospital in about six weeks. At that time, the surgeon will take tissue from her forehead to create the exterior of her nose.
In 2002, the family's pet raccoon climbed into the infant's crib at her birth family's Ravenna home and chewed off much of her face. The story was broadcast worldwide.
After the attack, Sharon — who is Charlotte's great aunt — took in Charlotte and her older brother, Marshall, when their birth parents lost custody. Sharon and her husband, Tim, adopted the children three years later.
The media blitz continued this week at Beaumont Hospital, according to Sharon.
“The staff took a lot of photographs,” she said. “She's fine with it. She doesn't mind sharing her nose with the world.”
Before Charlotte left her Spring Lake Township home last week, she reiterated her wish — lots of popsicles after surgery. Her wish came true — she consumed a whole box in two days.
To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.
Cards may be sent to: Charlotte Ponce, P.O. Box 397, Fruitport, MI 49415.
To see a video of Charlotte's surgery posted by the hospital, visit youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=tuo2za9GcvE.