BACKGROUND: Percutaneous radiofrequency thermocoagulation (RFTC) at the trigeminal rootlets has been suggested as a safe and effective treatment for the trigeminal neuralgia.However, no clinical data of RFTC for the trigeminal neuralgia were reported in Korea.The objective of this study was to analyze the treatment efficacy and complications of the RFTC at the trigeminal rootlets for the relief of trigeminal neuralgia. METHODS: The data of RFTC performed in 22 consecutive trigeminal neuralgia patients from November 2004 to February 2007 were retrospectively collected both by the review of medical records and by the telephone interview using a questionnaire.Age, sex, side of the face, and division (s) of trigeminal nerve involved were recorded. Pain relief, recurrence requiring or not requiring reoperation, and type and rate of complications were also evaluated. RESULTS: Six men and 16 women were included in this study.The mean age were 61 +/- 15 years and mean duration of pain were 71.8 +/- 50.5 months.The 11-point-verbal numerical rating scale scores before and after RFTC were 8.4 +/- 2.0 and 1.5 +/- 2.3, respectively (P < 0.05).According to the Kaplan-Meier analysis, the probabilities of remaining pain relief at 6 and 12 months after the procedure were 90.7% and 55.3%, respectively.The overall satisfaction rate was 95% (21/22).Hypesthesia was the more common side effect (36%). CONCLUSIONS: We confirmed that RFTC at the trigeminal rootlets was a minimally invasive and low-risk technique with a high rate of efficacy.