A challenge facing surgeons is identification and selection of patients for carotid endarterectomy or coronary artery bypass/surgical intervention. While some patients with atherosclerosis develop unstable plaques liable to undergo thrombosis, others form more stable plaques and are asymptomatic. Identification of the cellular signaling mechanisms associated with production of the inflammatory, hemorrhagic lesions of mature heterogenic plaques will help significantly in our understanding of the differences in microenvironment associated with development of regions susceptible to rupture and thrombosis and may help to predict the risk of plaque rupture and guide surgical intervention to patients who will most benefit. Here, we demonstrate detailed and novel methodologies for successful and, more importantly, accurate and reproducible extraction, sampling, and analysis of micro-regions in stable and unstable coronary/carotid arteries. This information can be applied to samples from other origins and so should be useful for scientists working with micro-isolation techniques in all fields of biomedical science.