An improved expandable stent for implantation in a body lumen, such as an artery, and an improved method for making it from a single length of tubing. The stent consists of a plurality of radially expandable cut cylindrical elements generally aligned on a common axis and interconnected by one or more interconnective elements, the elements having a rectangular cross-section from cut-to-cut. The individual radially expandable cylindrical elements are disposed in an undulating pattern. The stent is manufactured by direct laser cutting from a single metal tube using a finely focused laser beam originating from a diode pumped fiber laser with an external pulse generator and passing through a coaxial gas jet structure to impinge on the working surface of the tube as the linear and rotary velocity of the tube is precisely controlled. To optimize the cut, the laser parameters may be adjusted and/or the laser pulse may be shaped.