Plasticity of macrophage (MΦ) phenotypes exist in a spectrum from classically activated (M1) cells, to alternatively activated (M2) cells, contributing to both the normal healing of tissues and the pathogenesis of implant failure. Here, folate- and mannose-based optical probes were fabricated to simultaneously determine the degree of MΦ polarization. In vitro tests show the ability of these probes to specifically target M1 and M2 cells. In an in vivo murine model, they were able to distinguish between the M1-dominated inflammatory response to infection and the M2-dominated regenerative response to particle implants. Finally, the probes were used to assess the inflammatory/regenerative properties of biomaterial implants. Our results show that these probes can be used to monitor and quantify the dynamic processes of MΦ polarization and their role in cellular responses in real time.