Current Issue - March/April 2024 - Vol 27 Issue 3


  1. 2024;27;97-110Effectiveness of Radiofrequency Ablation for Treatment of Glossopharyngeal Neuralgia: A Systematic Review of the Current Literature
    Systematic Review
    Kenny Do, BS, Eric Kawana, BS, Vladislav Zhitny, MD, Michael C. Wajda, MD, Shengping Zou, MD, Jenifer Do, ., Navdeep Singh, MD, Valeryia Pratasava, MD, Harsha Dannapaneni, MD, Rae Stewart, MD, and Ryan T. Gualtier, MD.

BACKGROUND: Glossopharyngeal neuralgia (GPN) is a rare cause of facial pain that has an incidence of less than one per 100,000 people. The excruciating stabbing pain experienced by patients with GPN can be debilitating, leading to difficulties in activities of daily living, such as eating and speaking. As a result, there has been a recent increase in research on the effectiveness of radiofrequency ablation (RFA) for treating GPN.

OBJECTIVE: The objective of our study was to evaluate the effectiveness of (RFA for treating GPN while examining its impact on patients’ quality of life and assesses for any associated side effects.

STUDY DESIGN: The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses (PRISMA) model was employed to identify articles from 2 comprehensive medical databases. The patient outcomes and numbers from each article were aggregated and calculated in order to determine the percent efficacy of RFA for treating pain associated with GPN.

METHODS: In this systematic review, the PRISMA review model was utilized to search through the PubMed and EMBASE databases. A comprehensive literature review was conducted. Of the initial 1,580 articles identified, 18 articles were included for analysis. Studies included in this systematic review encompassed idiopathic cases and secondary causes, such as an elongated styloid process, oropharyngeal cancers, and postsurgical/traumatic pain.
RESULTS: Of the 288 patients treated with RFA, 231 experienced relief or complete resolution of pain, yielding an efficacy rate of 80.2%. Most of the patients experienced immediate pain relief after RFA; however, some patients reported numbness, dysphagia, and changes in taste. Our study examines the potential use of RFA as a minimally invasive and effective treatment for GPN.

LIMITATIONS: Limitations of our study include the absence of comparisons between different types, modes, and settings of RFA procedures. The use of only 2 medical databases is another limitation. Finally, our systematic review does not include any randomized controlled trials.

CONCLUSION: RFA is efficacious in treating GPN with over 80% of patients experiencing postprocedure pain relief. However, further research in the form of clinical and controlled trials is needed to contribute to a better understanding of RFA’s long-term outcomes for patients with GPN.
KEY WORDS: Glossopharyngeal neuralgia, facial pain, radiofrequency ablation, facial pain, chronic pain management, pain measurement