Background. The Hypoglossal-Facial nerve crossover has appeared as a surgical option for those scenarios where the facial nerve is injured in its intracranial course, but the conventional technique unequivocally leads to twelfth cranial nerve deficit. In recent years a number of different surgical approaches have been introduced with a view to avoiding the complete section of the hypoglossal nerve, such as the Jump Graft technique. This paper aims to present the results of the Hypoglossal-Facial nerve Jump Graft technique in relation to facial musculature reanimation capability and hemitongue function preservation.
Methods. A retrospective analysis of the records of eight patients submitted to Hypoglossal-Facial nerve Jump Graft technique was performed. The surgical approach was characterised by the interposition of a short graft sutured to the distal stump of the transected facial nerve and sutured end-to-side to the hypoglossi, with cutting of only a third of the diameter of the latter.
Findings. The facial nerve injuries were secondary to temporal bone trauma in five cases and to cerebellopontine angle tumour surgery in three. Grafts were harvested from the greater auricular nerve in six patients and from the sural nerve in two. The results of facial reanimation demonstrated facial symmetry and improvement in the facial tone in all cases, and classified as House-Brackmann grade IV in three (37.5%) and grade III in five (62.5%) patients. There was no incidence of definitive hemitongue atrophy and no patient complaint of swallowing or speech difficulty.
Conclusions. The modification of the conventional technique of Hypoglossal-Facial nerve anastomosis by means of sectioning one third of the hypoglossal nerve area does not lead to dysfunction of this nerve and the surgical results in terms of facial reanimation are satisfactory.
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