Background: Microvascular decompression (MVD) is commonly used in the treatment of trigeminal neuralgia with positive clinical outcomes. Fully endoscopic microvascular decompression (E-MVD) has been proposed as a minimally invasive, effective alternative, but a comparative review of the two approaches in the literature has not been conducted. Methods: We performed a meta-analysis comparing patient outcome rates and complications for both techniques. From a pool of 1,039 studies, 22 articles were selected for review: 12 open MVD and 10 E-MVD. The total number of patients was 6,734. Results: Good pain relief was achieved in 81% of MVD and 88% of E-MVD patients, with a mean recurrence rate of 14% and 9% respectively. Average rates of complications in MVD versus E-MVD included facial paresis or weakness, 9%, 3%; -hearing loss, 4%, 1%; cerebrospinal leak, both 3%; cerebellar damage and infection, 2%, <1%; and mortality <1%, 0% respectively. Conclusions: The reviewed literature revealed similar clinical outcomes with respect to pain relief for both approaches. Recurrence rate and incidence of complications, notably facial paresis and hearing loss were higher for MVD. We concluded that E-MVD appears to offer at least as good a surgical outcome as MVD, with possibly a shorter operative time, smaller craniectomy and lower recurrence rates.