A total of 17 patients with arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) in sensitive areas of the brain were operated on and the AVMs were completely resected using perivenous techniques. No patient suffered a new neurological deficit following surgery. The perivenous surgical technique is most suitable for small AVMs in sensitive cortex. It differs from the standard approach in that it places emphasis on perivenous microsurgical dissection, identification of the nidus before major arterial feeders, and early ligation of selected venous channels. Three different types of venous drainage--single, multiple, and dual--were identified. Each different type of venous drainage requires a different surgical approach for the best results.