General CT Preparation

CT exams fall into five general categories.
  • CT with contrast
  • CT without contrast
  • CT Colonography
       (Virtual Colonoscopy)
  • Coronary Calcium Scan
  • PET/CT

Why Choose the S. Mark Taper Foundation Imaging Center for a CT exam?

The preparation instructions for each is listed below. 
You can print and fill out the CT Whole Body Screening Questionnaire , if you are having that study, before you arrive to speed the registration process.

CT with Oral and/or IV Contrast

  • Do not eat 3 hours before your exam.
  • Taking medication as prescribed with a small amount of water.
  • After your scan, drink plenty of clear fluids, unless on restricted fluids.

CT without Contrast

  • No preparations required. (Approximate visit time: 1 hour)

CT Colonography

  • The most important part of any CT colonography happens before you come to the S. Mark Taper Foundation Imaging Center. To get a good look at the lining of the colon, it is necessary to clean out any traces of food or other material.
  • This means you must maintain a restricted diet the day before your exam and take colon-cleaning medications.
  • A prep-kit with detailed instructions and the medication you need to take before your exam is available from us.
  • You can either pick up this prep-kit in person, or request that it be mailed to you. To request a prep-kit, or for more information, call (310) 423-3266.
  • It is important that you carefully follow the instructions given with the prep-kit.
  • If you have diabetes: please contact us before you begin the prep-kit: (310) 423-3266.


CT contrast is sometimes given for this exam.

PET scans require careful preparation, so please follow instructions carefully.

(Diabetics should discuss the preparations with their doctor.)

  • 24 hours before your appointment
    • Do NOT engage in any strenuous exercise.
  • 12 hours before your appointment
    • Stay on a low-carbohydrate diet. (See below for a guide on what to eat.)
    • Refrain from consuming any caffeine, including any decaffeinated products for 24 hours before your exam. Note: Decaffeinated products still contain small amounts of caffeine.
    • Do NOT chew gum.
    • Avoid mints.
  • 6 hours before your appointment:
    • Do NOT eat anything.
    • Drink water as needed.
    • Take any prescribed medications as usual.
    • If you are diabetic, please consult your doctor for questions regarding diet and medication.
  • Low-Carbohydrate Diet Guide:

    Foods allowed:
    • All meats
    • Tofu
    • Hard cheeses
    • Eggs
    • Unsweetened peanut butter
    • Oil, margarine, butter
    • Diet soda (be careful to avoid caffeine or decaffeinated sodas.)
    • Non-starchy vegetables (such as: broccoli, spinach, green beans.)

    Foods not allowed:

    • Cereals
    • Breads
    • Pasta
    • Rice
    • Dry beans
    • Gravies
    • Fruit and fruit juices
    • Jams and jellies
    • Sugar and candy
    • Honey
    • Starchy vegetables (such as: peas, corn, potatoes)
    • Milk (including non-dairy milk)
    • Alcohol
    • Coffee or Tea
    The S. Mark Taper Foundation Imaging Center provides a full range of advanced imaging, both radiology and cardiology, as well as interventional radiology and interventional tumor (oncology) treatments to the greater Los Angeles area, including Beverly Hills, Encino, Mid-Cities, Sherman Oaks, Silver Lake, Studio City, Toluca Lake, and West Hollywood.  
Android app on Google Play