Chronic pancreatitis is a chronic inflammation of the pancreas with pain as its severest symptom and often an impaired quality of life. Surgical intervention plays an important role in the management of pain but is generally kept as a last resort when conservative measures and endoscopy have failed. However, in the last few years multiple studies suggested the superiority of (early) surgical treatment in chronic pancreatitis for multiple end points, including pain relief. In this paper we highlight the most recent high-quality evidence on surgical therapy in chronic pancreatitis and the rationale for early (surgical) intervention.