Toddler attacked by pit bull celebrates birthday with surgeon who rebuilt her face

A Long Island toddler seriously injured by a dog celebrated her second birthday with a small gathering in Hicksville on Sunday. As CBS2’s Dave Carlin reported, it reunited her with a plastic surgeon who will forever be the family’s hero.

A Long Island toddler was near death after being attacked by a pit bull when she was only 20 months old, but her surgeon wouldn’t let her go.

On Sunday, Alessia Sansotta-Ingrasselino celebrated her second birthday alongside Dr. Rachel Ruotolo, of the Long Island Plastic Surgical Group, who reconstructed the little girl’s face just months prior.

“I’m very thankful I was able to make it,” Ruotolo told People. “It was very special to see Alessia be a normal two-year-old girl and have fun at her party … It was a really wonderful celebration of this little girl’s journey and resilience.”

The Sansotta-Ingrasselino family’s lives changed forever on March 6 when their daughter was attacked by the pit bull. She underwent a 12-hour life-saving surgery and was put on a ventilator to breathe, a GoFundMe page reads.

This past weekend, LIPSG's Dr. Rachel A. Ruotolo had the opportunity to celebrate the 2nd birthday of one very special…

Posted by Long Island Plastic Surgical Group, PC on Wednesday, July 15, 2020

She suffered a fractured jaw and broken and shattered bones through her nasal passage. Her upper teeth sockets were completely ripped out. The family knew it would be a journey to help Alessia get back to health.

On March 19, Alessia was finally stable enough to undergo facial reconstruction surgery led by Ruotolo, who specializes in pediatric plastic and craniofacial surgery.

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She was originally approached by Angela Sansotta, Alessia’s aunt, who started the online fundraiser, to perform the surgery.

“When she reached out to me and asked if I could help her niece, there was no question or doubt in my mind. If I was physically able to do it, I would,” Ruotolo told People. “It was something I felt I could take care of with experience.”

In March 2020, Alessia Sansotta-Ingrasselino was attacked by a pit bull at just 20 months old.

In March 2020, Alessia Sansotta-Ingrasselino was attacked by a pit bull at just 20 months old.


The incredible procedure required Ruotolo to shave a piece of Alessia’s rib and cartilage to rebuild her nose, the GoFundMe reads.

After the successful surgery, Alessia was finally allowed to go home on April 4.

“She really is a miracle,” mom Diane Sansotta-Ingrasselino told CBS New York at her little girl’s birthday party. “She’s my world.”

“Her nose was almost completely off. Her eyelids bones were broken,” her doctor added. “They are so unbelievably resilient and brave. She’s not even afraid of the type of animal that caused this.”

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“She’s running around having fun today and you’d never know this horrific thing happened so recently.”

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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