Currently, gold nanorods can be synthesized in a wide range of sizes. However, for the intended biological applications gold nanorods with approximate dimensions 50 nm × 15 nm are used. We investigate by computer simulation the effect of particle dimensions on the optical and thermal properties in the context of the specific applications of photoacoustic imaging. In addition we discuss the influence of particle size in overcoming the following biophysical barriers when administrated in vivo: extravasation, avoidance of uptake by organs of the reticuloendothelial system, penetration through the interstitium, binding capability and uptake by the target cells. Although more complex biological influences can be introduced in future analysis, the present work illustrates that larger gold nanorods, designated by us as 'nanobig rods', may perform better at meeting the requirements for successful in vivo applications compared to their smaller counterparts, which are conventionally used.