Hi, TerriH. I can't speak to your first question, since I had my surgery shortly after I was diagnosed. However, I did have a suboccipital craniotomy, sometimes referred to as retrosigmoid. I am not a medical doctor, but I understand that that this approach is the preferred one to try to preserve hearing. Also, surgeons tend to have their own preferences. I am glad that you are seeking a second opinion so you can be assured that you are making the best decision you can with the information you have available to you.
Everyone's experience is different, so keep that in mind as you read responses to your post! I was in the hospital a little less than a week, but I did have a CSF leak (which can happen) and it was repaired while I was still in the hospital. That extended my stay by a day. I experienced no pain post-op. I was nauseated and dizzy and wobbly for a bit, that that's part for the course. Only a little of my hair was shaved at the base of my skull, and since I have medium-length hair, no one noticed because my hair covered the bald patch until the hair grew back. I was out of work for about 4 weeks and then started back part-time at week 5. For a while you won't be able to lift anything heavy, you will probably be pretty tired, and your balance may be off until your body heals. There does seem to be a higher incidence of residual headache among those who have been operated on using this approach, but not everyone experiences that side effect.
Good luck to you as you research your options. Those of us who have "been there, done that" are here to support you.