To assess the effectiveness of radiofrequency (RF) versus other percutaneous strategies (balloon compression, glycerol rhizotomy [GR], and microvascular decompression [MVD]) in patients with trigeminal neuralgia. We systematically searched the electronic databases of PubMed, Embase, and the Cochrane Library to identify eligible studies throughout October 2020. The odds ratio (OR) with 95% confidence interval (CI) was applied to assess effect estimates using the random-effects model. Eighteen retrospective cohort studies that enrolled 6391 patients with trigeminal neuralgia were included. We noted that RF was associated with an increased incidence of immediate pain relief compared with GR (OR 2.65; 95% CI 1.29-5.44; P = 0.008). Moreover, RF was associated with an increased risk of pain recurrence compared with MVD (OR 3.80; 95% CI 2.00-7.20; P < 0.001). Furthermore, RF was associated with an increased incidence of postoperative anesthesia compared with GR (OR 3.01; 95% CI 1.11-8.13; P = 0.030) or MVD (OR 4.62; 95% CI 2.15-9.93; P < 0.001). This study found that RF was superior to GR for the improvement in immediate pain relief; whereas, RF yielded an excess risk of pain recurrence compared with MVD. Moreover, the incidence of postoperative anesthesia in patients treated with RF significantly increased compared with the incidence after treatment with GR and MVD.