Doctor Builds Charlotte Ponce A New Ear, Pierces It

8/29/2014
   

It's not something most children dream about or even think about. But, Charlotte Ponce wanted an ear.

"I'm amazed. It's been a long journey. I never thought I'd see the day that she would have her own ear," Sharon Ponce, Charlotte's mother, said.

When Charlotte was just three months old, a raccoon attacked her. It destroyed her ear, nose and lip. Kongkrit Chaiyasate, M.D., repaired Charlotte's lip and built her a new nose at Beaumont Children's Hospital several years ago.

"It's rewarding. It's fantastic. I feel great," Dr. Chaiyasate said. "It's worth every minute that I spend."

Creating a new ear for Charlotte was a challenge. With the help of 3D imaging, the doctor removed cartilage from Charlotte's ribs and molded it into the shape of an ear in April. Then, he put the ear into Charlotte's arm to allow skin to grow around it.

"She looks great," Tim Ponce, Charlotte's father, said. "I'm so proud of her."

In July, Dr. Chaiyasate removed the ear from Charlotte's arm and attached it to her head. Only a handful of doctors have performed a procedure like this.

 

"No words can express how grateful we are. He knows. He has gotten lots of hugs," Sharon Ponce said.

Dr. Chaiyasate added, "It turned out very good. You can see she's wearing eye glasses now. She couldn't before. So, that's fantastic."

Now, Charlotte's ear is healing well. She still has a few more minor surgeries ahead of her, but in the meantime, she plans to keep living by her motto.

"You have to rock what you got," Charlotte Ponce said.

Charlotte returned to Beaumont Children's Hospital in August for a skin graft procedure. During the surgery, Dr. Chaiyasate pierced Charlotte's new ear. It was a wonderful surprise. For the first time in her life, she can now wear a pair of earrings.

When asked about the surprise, Charlotte smiled and said, "Doesn't every girl want earrings?"

The NBC Today Show covered Charlotte's remarkable story in July. Reporter Andrea Canning checked back in on Charlotte in August and helped encourage make-up company DermaBlend to give Charlotte a surprise makeover.