Girl mauled by pet raccoon undergoes groundbreaking surgery

Charlotte Ponce, 11, waits with her mom Sharon Ponce at Beaumont Children's Hospital in Royal Oak, Mich., April 15, 2014. (Chris Clark/The Grand Rapids Press/AP Photo)
April 15, 2014 3:22:49 PM PDT
An 11-year-old girl who was brutally mauled by a pet raccoon when she was a baby has undergone a groundbreaking surgery.

Charlotte Ponce was just 3-months-old when her biological parents left her alone with the pet raccoon. The vicious attack left the girl with no nose or ear.

Her great-aunt and uncle, Sharon and Tim Ponce from Spring Lake, Mich., saw the horrific story of her disfigurement on the news and stepped in to adopt Charlotte and her older brother Marshall.

"The raccoon pretty much ate the right side of her face, all the way back to the ear," said Sharon during an interview with ABC News. "Her right side is totally scarred and she's had three surgeries to remove some of it almost two years ago."

During the revolutionary surgery that took several hours on Tuesday, surgeons carved cartilage from her ribs, formed it into the shape of an ear, and implanted it under the skin on Charlotte's forearm.

Skin will grow around the cartilage. And two months later, they'll transplant the ear from her arm to the side of her head.

Her story is an inspiration; not just in her hometown of Muskegon, but all over the world.

Charlotte says after the surgery she's looking forward to having both ears pierced and picking out earrings.

(ABC News contributed to this report)

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