Hi, a "jump graft" means that they will be doing a nerve graft from the XIIth cranial nerve (CN), the hypoglossal n., that is motor to your tongue (allows you to move it; nothing to do with taste or tongue sensation) to branch(s) of your paralyzed VIIth CN, the facial nerve. They used to use the whole XIIth CN in the grafting, but discovered 3 things about it that were bad: 1) the XIIth CN is much larger than the VIIth, so it supplied way too much power to the face, 2) that excess power tended to lead to a lot of mass-action synkinesis, and 3) because the tongue lost all its power on that side, it atrophied on 1 side and caused difficulty moving food, swallowing properly, and speech problems. Some people adapted to this, but many/most did not. Soooo, Mark May, MD here in Pittsburgh developed the XII-VII jump graft, which is essentially a split graft that only takes a portion of the XIIth CN to graft to the VIIth and it works by providing proper amount of power to the face and not causing the tongue to become real weak (a little maybe, yes, but usually fine). Also, much less, if any, synkinesis
Therefore, the research has shown these people do not have speech or swallowing problems, or if so, very minor. The last person I saw who had a jump graft done had no tongue weakness, and no functional problems at all! Their speech was perfect.
As always, it is important that you have it done by a surgeon who has experience doing it... you don't want to be their 1st of 2nd try...
Also, be aware that you will likely have to press your tongue against either your palate or back of front teeth to make your face contract, at least for the 1st year or 3, until your brain can "integrate" it. Also, there will be a 6-12 month post-surgical "wait" period for the nerve to regenerate through the graft (that is true for ANY nerve graft surgery, by the way = no instant gratification). The beauty of it is that it can provide a lot of tone & movement in an otherwise paralysed face!
It would be great if anyone on this Forum who has had it done can provide their input and experience!
Good luck and hope this helps in your decision-making.
Todd - PT