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The electromagnetic problem of modeling vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers with their full 3D structure is analyzed. The vectorial Helmholtz equation is discretized on prism elements, and the resulting complex symmetric generalized eigen- problem is solved by an efficient numerical technique. The full-vectorial treatment enables one to determine the polarization characteristics of these lasers. The model is compared to 2D calculations and is demonstrated for advanced laser diodes incorporating surface reliefs and photonic crystal patterns.