Hi AlabamaDonna .....
My first brain surgery, almost 25 years ago, was done at UPMC in Pittsburgh for decompression of pressure on the trigeminal nerve, not an AN. Eleven years ago my first AN surgery was done by Dr. Fukushima at Duke. My second AN surgery (for the regrowth of my AN) was done eight years ago by Drs. Friedman and Schwartz in CA.
Dr. Fukushima is in his late 70s in age now, just so you know.
For me, if I have any further problems AN related, I will always go back to Dr. Friedman, who, as you know, is now at UC San Diego. Dr. Friedman still orders my follow-up MRIs, which are then sent to him for evaluation.
For what it is worth, flying to CA from the East Coast was a non-issue and I had zero problems. While still in LA, nine days post-op I was walking around downtown LA with friends sightseeing.
As for which doctor is better, that is a subjective question/answer. Both of the doctors you mentioned have done hundreds of AN surgeries. I do not know how you could see any statistics on outcomes. Even I cannot compare them because one did my first surgery and one did the second. In most circumstances the first surgery would normally be a longer recovery anyway, so .....