PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Patients suffering from chronic pancreatitis often require surgical intervention to treat their disease. This review discusses surgical options as well as reviews current trends and research in the operative management of chronic pancreatitis. RECENT FINDINGS: Relevant current topics in the field include the appropriate timing of surgery as well as the relative benefits of various procedures, particularly duodenum-preserving pancreatic head resection versus pancreaticoduodenectomy. Multiple studies have found that surgery earlier in the disease course results in improved outcomes. Furthermore, the recent literature reports similar outcomes of duodenum-preserving pancreatic head resection when compared with pancreaticoduodenectomy. SUMMARY: It is important for treating clinicians to be well versed on the interplay of medical, endoscopic, and surgical strategies to carefully tailor a patient's treatment plan. Each patient warrants careful consideration and an individualized approach in collaboration with multidisciplinary colleagues.