Macrophages are one of the most important cell types involved in the progression of atherosclerosis which can lead to myocardial infarction. To detect macrophages in atherosclerotic plaques, plasmonic gold nanorose is introduced as a nontoxic contrast agent for fluorescence imaging. We report macrophage cell culture and ex vivo tissue studies to visualize macrophages targeted by nanorose using scanning confocal microscopy. Atherosclerotic lesions were created in the aorta of a New Zealand white rabbit model subjected to a high cholesterol diet and double balloon injury. The rabbit was injected with nanoroses coated with dextran. A HeNe laser at 633 nm was used as an excitation light source and a acousto-optical beam splitter was utilized to collect fluorescence emission in 650-760 nm spectral range. Results of scanning confocal microscopy of macrophage cell culture and ex vivo tissue showed that nanoroses produce a strong fluorescence signal. The presence of nanorose in ex vivo tissue was further confirmed by photothermal wave imaging. These results suggest that scanning confocal microscopy can identify the presence and location of nanorose-loaded macrophages in atherosclerotic plaques.