We performed a prospective randomised trial to evaluate the analgesic efficacy of interpleural analgesia in patients undergoing hepatic resection. The control group (n = 25) received multimodal analgesia with intravenous morphine patient-controlled analgesia; in addition, the interventional group (n = 25) received interpleural analgesia with a 20-ml loading dose of levo bupivacaine 0.5% followed by a continuous infusion of levobupivacaine 0.125%. Outcome measures included pain intensity on movement using a visual analogue scale over 24 h, cumulative morphine and rescue analgesia requirements, patient satisfaction, hospital stay and all adverse events. Patients in the interpleural group were less sedated and none required treatment for respiratory depression compared to 6 (24%) in the control group (p< 0.01). Patients in the interpleural group also had lower pain scores during movement in the first 24 h. Patients' satisfaction, opioid requirements and duration of hospital stay were similar. We conclude that continuous interpleural analgesia augments intravenous morphine analgesia, decreases postoperative sedation and reduces respiratory depression after hepatic resection.