The aim of this prospective, randomized, double-blinded study was to evaluate the effect of pulsed radiofrequency (PRF) in comparison with conventional radiofrequency (CRF) in the treatment of idiopathic trigeminal neuralgia. A total of 40 patients with idiopathic trigeminal neuralgia were included. The 20 patients in each group were randomly assigned to one of the two treatment groups. Each patient in the Group I was treated with CRF, whereas each patient in the Group 2 was treated by PRF. Evaluation parameters were: pain intensity using a Visual Analogue Scale (VAS), patient satisfaction using a Patient Satisfaction Scale (PSS), additional pharmacological treatment, side effects, and complications related to the technique. The VAS scores decreased significantly (p < 0.001) and PSS improved significantly after the procedure in Group 1. The VAS score decreased in only 2 of 20 patients from the PRF group (Group 2) and pain recurrence occurred 3 months after the procedure. At the end of 3 months, we decided to perform CRF in Group 2, because all patients in this group still had intractable pain. After the CRF treatment, the median VAS score decreased (p < 0.001) and PSS improved (p < 0.001) significantly. In conclusion, the results of our study demonstrate that unlike CRF, PRF is not an effective method of pain treatment for idiopathic trigeminal neuralgia. (c) 2006 European Federation of Chapters of the International Association for the Study of Pain. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.