The purpose of this article is to report on the safety and effectiveness of brain arteriovenous malformation (AVM) embolization for two series of patients, of which one was treated with particulate embolization and the other with acrylic embolization. Sixty-five consecutive patients from embolization logs and patient records from 1988 to 1993 were reviewed. AVMs were routinely treated with particulate embolization early in the review (1988-1991), and after a transition period, the technique was changed to acrylic embolization for the remainder of the study period (1992-1993). All patients were treated with the ultimate goal of complete AVM obliteration. AVMs were embolized and resected, if possible, and if unresectable, they were reduced in size with embolization and radiated. The course of treatment for each patient was reviewed. The effectiveness at the end of treatment was analyzed for the ability to resect the AVM and, if unresectable, the ability to reduce the AVM to radiation size. Additionally, the safety of each embolization technique was evaluated in the context of comprehensive care, in terms of the safety of the procedure itself, the surgical resection after embolization, and the outcome at the end of comprehensive treatment. This article outlines the safety and effectiveness of acrylic and particulate embolization at a single institution. The ability to surgically resect an AVM after embolization and to reduce nidus size with acrylic was at least comparable with that with particulate embolization. Comprehensive complication rates were lower after acrylic embolization and were heavily influenced by a decreased number of surgical complications in the acrylic series. These data support the need to conduct a randomized prospective clinical trial to compare the relative safety and effectiveness of the two methods of embolization.