Arteriovenous malformations of the brain are congenital vascular lesions that affect 0.01-0.50% of the population, and are generally present in patients aged 20-40 years. The usual clinical presentations are haemorrhage, seizures, progressive neurological deficit, or headache. Results of natural history studies have shown a yearly haemorrhage rate of 1-4%. Frequency of rebleeding has increased over the years, and several factors that increase risk of haemorrhage have been identified. Although substantial, the morbidity associated with haemorrhages could be less than previously thought. Over the past decade, great advances have been made in application of endovascular embolisation techniques, stereotactic radiosurgery, and microsurgery, allowing effective multidisciplinary treatment of arteriovenous malformations, including those previously deemed to be untreatable. Increasing attention has been paid to management of flow-related aneurysms associated with these malformations. Finally, many reports of recurrent arteriovenous malformations have coincided with new theories regarding the embryogenesis of these disorders and laboratory work suggesting their proliferative potential.