Hi Thomasb ,,
I had this surgery 4 days after my AN translab surgery 8 years ago. My facial nerve was severed during surgery due to tumor involvement. Neurologist felt I should have it done immediately in order to get best results. I am happy with results. You basically will use your tongue to close your eye and smile a closed mouth smile. Hard to explain but becomes second nature.
I have very good muscle tone in my face. Without the graft I believe I would have significant drooping. At rest you can not tell I have paralysis. My eye would not close completely on its own. I had a gold eye weight put in after surgery for a year.( it has been removed). Now my eye closes well. I did not get much movement in my forehead on AN side but that was expected. My tongue works differently in that the right side ( AN side) is atrophied and so I eat on just one side of my mouth. I eat slowly and can become chocked easily but that may just be me. I have a very sensitive gag reflex.
Overall I’m happy with the graft. If you want a better more open mouth smile ,there are other surgeries you can have ( such as gracilis free flap) but I did not. In hindsight, I would probably consider it more than I did. I do miss my smile!
I hope this has helped some. I’m sure others will chime in,,,
Best of luck to you,,, let us know how it goes and what you decide. We are here for you,,,,