Toddler Attacked by Pit Bull Celebrates Birthday with Surgeon Who Rebuilt Her Face: 'Surreal'

"We are so happy to report that Alessia is doing GREAT!! She is back to her beautiful smiling self!!" Angela wrote of her niece in the days following her procedure. "If she’s not singing her favorite Frozen and Moana songs, we are most definitely singing to Lava… Whether she’s coloring, playing with stickers, playing on the iPad of course, Alessia is getting better and better every day!!"

While attending Alessia's Moana-themed bash on Sunday, Dr. Ruotolo tells PEOPLE she couldn't help but tear up at the little girl's happiness.

"It definitely was a surreal feeling. When I was standing there at the end, and Moana was there and dancing with Alessia, it was impossible not to get emotional watching that because of where she came from," she says. "It was very special to be able to be there."

"I have a very intimate connection with my patients. I'm not just their surgeon and I try to make myself as available to them as possible," she continues. "There's a huge emotional aspect of it and it's a very large part of what I do. As much as I can I try to be there for them and reassure them along the way."

In the coming years, Alessia will require more surgeries since she's young and still growing, says Dr. Ruotolo. She plans on being there for the toddler every step of the way.

"It's for the long haul," she says, noting that she looks forward to seeing Alessia have "a normal life and be a happy, normal kid."

"That's my goal — and that's my goal for all my patients," she explains. "The goal is to make it look like it never happened. You can't take away the psychological aspects of this — which I hope she has no memory of — but if we can make her physically look like this didn't happen, then it's a home run."

Added Alessia's mother, Dianna Sansotta-Ingrasselino, to WABC: "[Dr. Ruotolo is] forever in our life. Anybody that looks at Alessia for the rest of her life is looking at what she's done, so forever I am grateful to her."

Those interested in helping Alessia with the costs of her upcoming medical procedures can do so here.

Source: Read Full Article