Most doctors prefer to try conservative (nonsurgical) treatments for patients before going ahead with surgery. The symptoms you describe are common with a condition called medial epicondylitis, better known as golfer's elbow.
Surgery for this condition is technically easy. It involves severing the sore elbow tendon from the bone. However, before going forward with an aggressive procedure like this, most doctors will try physical therapy and medication. If these measures don't resolve the problem, a cortisone injection may be tried. Then, after trying all these other options, your doctor may recommend surgery.