INTRODUCTION: Elderly men with multiple comorbidities may be unfit to undergo surgical management of benign prostatic obstruction (BPO). Permanent and temporary prostatic stents have been developed as an alternative to chronic indwelling catheters in men unfit for surgery. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Herein we review the past and present literature on the role and effectiveness of prostatic stents in the treatment of BPO. RESULTS: Permanent prostatic stents have largely been abandoned in North America due to unfavorable outcomes and improved technologies to allow for treatment of BPO. Currently, the temporary Spanner stent is the only available stent on the market, but its effectiveness has mostly been documented for temporary relief of tissue edema following minimal invasive ablative treatments for BPO. CONCLUSIONS: The advent of well-tolerated surgical treatments for BPO (KTP laser vaporization, bipolar TURP, urethral lift devices) has diminished the need for permanent prostatic stents. The temporary Spanner stent is an alternative to urethral catheter, but requires adequate detrusor function and can cause irritative symptoms.