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For Lasse Lempainen, the greatest reward is successfully treating a patient

As Hospital NEO's orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Lempainen specializes in the treatment of knee, ankle, muscle and tendon injuries. In his spare time, this family man pushes himself to his limits, in both running and orienteering.

Lasse Lempainen began studying medicine in Turku in 1998. He did his surgical and orthopedic residency at Satakunta Central Hospital and Turku University Hospital.

"At times during my residency, I also did research on a full-time basis. The training I received at the University Hospital deepened my knowledge of orthopedics, and during that time I also had the opportunity to visit the Traumatology and Sports Medicine clinic of the Technical University of Munich, where I learned about their treatment practices. The time I spent in Germany also gave me a good opportunity to establish international contacts," Lempainen recounts.

Lasse_Lempainen_ja_potilasActive childhood led the way to a career

Already at an early age, Lempainen, who grew up in Eurajoki in Western Finland, knew what his future profession would be.

"When I was in elementary school I used to tell people that I would be a bone surgeon when I grow up. My favorite TV shows at the time were MacGyver and the German medical drama Die Schwarzwaldklinik (The Black Forest Clinic). I suppose that's where I got the idea from. I think that what attracted me to surgery was, in particular, the opportunity to work with my hands. My favorite school subjects were woodworking and physical education," Lempainen recalls.

Dr. Lempainen participated in competitive orienteering starting when he was eight. He also enjoyed cross-country skiing and tried out track and field." Back then in my community I had a really great and inspiring group of friends, and we did orienteering together into our adult years. We competed in a youth division of orienteering and did quite well. And in a Finnish Championship Series orienteering relay race we made it to the podium a couple of times," he says.

Expert in hamstring injuries

Lasse_Lempainen_leikkaMid-way through his medical studies, Lempainen already met some of his future
co-workers at NEO and began his thesis
under the supervision of Sakari Orava and Janne Sarimo. He completed his thesis on
the surgical treatment of hamstring injuries
in 2009. The hamstring muscles are a group
of large muscles of the posterior thigh that primarily flex the knee and extend the hip.

General sports injuries include various
degrees of hamstring tears. They occur easily in sports that require quick movements and sudden changes of direction, such as
sprinting and soccer. Slipping can also cause hamstring injuries. In addition to tearing, chronic tendinitis can also occur in the hamstrings.

"Hamstring injuries require active treatment and proper rehabilitation and they have a high risk of recurrence, especially if the rehabilitation has been insufficient. When it comes to treating these injuries, besides rehabilitation, first-aid treatment and early diagnosis are also important. Surgery is very often mandatory for successfully treating severe tears," explains Lempainen.

High importance on understanding the patient's overall situation

Lempainen considers a consultation that is not rushed, and which allows enough time for questions and discussion to be the cornerstone of a successful patient-doctor encounter. He also considers his sports background to be an advantage, as it helps him to understand the changes that injuries can cause to an athlete's life and career.

"An orthopedic surgeon has to be a good listener and should be closely in tune with the patient's emotional state. It is also important that we instill in them confidence in our ability to offer treatment options that apply to their situation," says Lempainen.

Part of the entire patient treatment chain

Lasse_Lempainen_tyopisteellaIn terms of his work with athletes, the future is packed with challenges for Lempainen. "Sports are becoming increasingly popular, which also means that medical specialists are required to treat the injuries that come along with those sports. Private medical care offers quick access to treatment," says Lempainen.

Lempainen also plans to enhance his medical training on his own in the future. "New research data is constantly pouring in, which makes our work challenging, but also very rewarding. I particularly like being part of a patient's treatment from beginning to end. The feeling of success that comes at the end of treatment reinforces my belief that I'm doing something that has a big impact on the lives of individual people," Lempainen sums up.