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Pulsed Radiofrequency of the Auriculotemporal Nerve to Reduce the Intensity of Tinnitus.

INTRODUCTION: Stimulation of the nonauditory nervous systems via the trigeminal nerve pathways can be a promising intervention for patients with tinnitus refractory to medical, conservative, and other treatment options. Therapy of the mandibular division of the trigeminal nerve through the auriculotemporal nerve has been reported as useful for patients with tinnitus.

OBJECTIVES: The objective of our study was to study the long-term effects of pulsed radiofrequency of the auriculotemporal nerve in a large group of tinnitus sufferers and to find predictors for a prosperous result.

DESIGN: A monocenter backward-looking group study.

RESULTS: In a two-year period, 67 tinnitus patients had pulsed radiofrequency of the auriculotemporal nerve. Twentythree (35%) reported reduced tinnitus loudness at the 7-week post-treatment follow-up. These patients valued the improvements as: 61% good, 22% moderate, and 17% slight. In 3% of patients, tinnitus magnified after the treatment. The odds of permanent tinnitus relief after successful pulsed radiofrequency of the auriculotemporal nerve are 68% at 1 year postoperative. In tinnitus patients without cervical pain 62% had an improvement following pulsed radiofrequency of the auriculotemporal nerve compared to 28% in those not fulfilling this criterion (p=0.024).

CONCLUSIONS: Neuromodulation of the auriculotemporal nerve is an uncomplicated remedy for tinnitus. In a select group of tinnitus patients this treatment can a good relief of their tinnitus for a long period. Especially, tinnitus sufferers without cervical pain will benefit of this therapy.

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