BACKGROUND: Ureteric stents have been used in urological practice for over 25 years and in many cases have become almost routine. The purpose of the present review is to highlight the uses, complications and risk management issues associated with their use. METHODS: An extensive literature review was conducted and knowledge from past experience was accessed to give a summary of past and current ureteric stent use in urology. RESULTS: Broadly, there are stone and non-stone indications for stenting. Complications may range from the commonly experienced 'stent syndrome' to the medico-legal dilemma of the forgotten stent. Risk management must be applied to all uses of stenting to minimize complications and achieve best practice. CONCLUSION: Although almost routine in many areas of urological practice, the complications and implications for risk management of ureteric stenting cannot be ignored.