Doctors do have different methods of surgery, even with external…not sure exactly how Dr Cognetti does it but it is possible to go in between the neck muscles to get to the styloids (my UK surgeon does this), but some doctors cut the muscles, so obviously that takes longer to heal. Some doctors use an incision almost across the neck, others use a natural neck crease…As far as I’m aware Dr Cognetti removes as close as possible to skull base, he doesn’t just shorten the styloids. This means regrowth is less likely. If you have calcified ligaments as well it’s worth checking if you see Dr Cognetti whether he removes them as he told one member he didn’t.
As for monitoring the nerves, doctors use clips to do this, usually monitoring the facial nerve. I would ask whichever doctor you see to check they do this, I’m sure most of the experienced surgeons do though.
Hopefully members who’ve had surgery with these doctors will chip in!