Controversy persists concerning the pathogenesis of dural arteriovenous malformations (AVM's) and whether they are congenital or acquired. Furthermore, it remains undetermined whether the lesion is located in the sinus itself or within the sinus wall. In order to elucidate the pathogenesis of dural AVM's of the lateral and sigmoid sinuses, histopathological profiles of this disease were studied in serial sections of completely resected lesions from three patients. The essential lesion was histologically confirmed to be a dural arteriovenous fistula within the wall of the venous sinuses. The etiology process of this disease and its progression were evaluated.