@diamond3 - I was on the verge of doing robotic with a well respected doctor at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago
I did a lot of talking to friends, doctors and Google-ing - there was no consensus as to whether there was any practical difference in results.
It seemed like much more importance is given to the experience of the specific doctor than to the type of procedure.
I read about another well known Dr, William Catalona - working in the same dept as my prospective robotic surgeon
Catalona is a fierce advocate of the open procedure, he's done thousands, is well known and treats celebrities ( I think I heard or saw Joe Torre's name mentioned).
The arguments go back and forth, people like robotic because of a set of smaller incisions (although net the entire set is close to the single incision done in open). also with robotic the area of the operation can be reached presumably with less impact than open.
I was also told that if you are overweight, robotic may be easier/better for all involved
The advocates for open say that the surgeon's ability to have tactile feedback on the tissues and the ability to see directly are advantages
In the midst of my anxiety and indecision, I spoke to a very well known cancer surgeon, Dr A, who himself had PCa, and he recommended to me the doctor I ended up using, Dr B. Dr A was operated on by the doctor he recommended, and actually had trained him in part. The urologist surgeon I used, also worked at Sloan Kettering and is now in the Chicago area.
The recommending doctor said "You need to talk to Dr B". The same Dr A, told me that he was a runner, and ran 16 miles 4 weeks after surgery. That made the decision easy - I'm a runner, a major doctor runner essentially says "use this guy"
In the end, my operation took 90 minutes from first cut to finish - I was out of the hospital in 48 hours and have had very good results - no leakage after cath removal (other than when running)
I think there are a lot of good doctors out there, it pays to scrutinize and research, because there are also a lot of average doctors or worse.
It's very hard when you feel you want/need the "rock star" doctor. I'm not sure if mine was such a star, but it sure worked out well for me - maybe luck is involved as well
if you want his name - email me at firstname.lastname@example.org (yes this is a real email address - click on the email link at the top of the page to sign up if you want one)
Age at diagnosis 48
Pre-Surgery PSA 5.1, 5.7
Cores Positive: 10 of 12 up to 40%
Treatment: open Surgery Dec 2010