We have evaluated the role of a rapid and radical method of amniodrainage in the treatment of severe twin–twin transfusion. The outcome of 15 patients with severe twin–twin transfusion for which a amniodrainage was performed by means of a vacuum bottle system was compared with the outcome of 15 patients with a similar condition, matched for gestational age at the time of the initial procedure and drained using a standard procedure. In the study group the amniodrainage ended when no amniotic fluid could be aspirated, whereas the women in the standard group were drained with a syringe system and the fluid was removed until the deepest amniotic fluid pool was <8 cm. At the initial procedure, the mean volume of amniotic fluid drained was significantly (p<0.05) higher (3252 vs 2153 ml) and the length of the procedure significantly (p<0.001) shorter (21 vs 41 min) in the study group than in the standard group. The mean post-procedure amniotic fluid index was significantly (p<0.001) smaller (2.9 vs 7.7 cm) after radical amniodrainage than after the standard amniodrainage. The mean number of procedures was significantly (p<0.001) lower (1.5 vs 5.6) in the study group compared to the standard group. In the study group the mean placental thickness increased significantly (p<0.001) from 9 mm before the procedure to 49 mm after, and the overall perinatal survival rate was 80% and the proportion of pregnancies with at least one survivor was 93%. The present data indicate that early, rapid and radical amniodrainage is an effective and low-cost therapy for severe twin–twin transfusion syndrome. Compared to the standard amniodrainage technique it also appears to reduce the need for multiple procedures. Copyright © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.