The 28-year-old will miss the next six to eight weeks after having bone spurs removed, meaning former Carlton big man Shaun Hampson will be thrust into the lead ruck role from round one.
"He’s been able to train with it in the last couple of weeks, but he hasn’t been 100 per cent comfortable," Richmond’s elite performance manager Peter Burge told richmondfc.com.au.
"It was a decision we had to make – does he play with it the whole year, or do we just get it done now and get him right?
"That’s the decision we made with Ivan, and we’re happy with that.
"It’s good to get that done now, and start moving into his rehab phase, and hopefully get him back on track soon."
Young midfielder Ben Lennon underwent a minor knee operation on Monday that will sideline him for three to four weeks.
Burge said Lennon had been experiencing pain in his knee and scans had discovered cartilage that needed to be removed.
"It’s not a big operation, but it gives him a bit of a mental break, and then we can get him back and get him going again," Burge said, with Lennon almost certain to miss the Tigers' round one clash against Gold Coast at Metricon Stadium.
Jack Riewoldt, meanwhile, is set to face Essendon in the club's final practice match on March 7, after recovering from quad tightness.
Burge said Richmond had taken a safe approach with Riewoldt, who has missed the club's two NAB Challenge matches, and he was expected to face the Bombers at the ME Bank Centre.
"He just needs a good two weeks of training with the group and he’ll be ready to go," Burge said.
Dylan Grimes and Daniel Jackson have recovered from hamstring and groin injuries respectively and are scheduled to play in Richmond’s VFL practice match on Friday afternoon.