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World Renowned Finnish Doctors


For many years, Finland has been ranking top in diagnostics and treatment of many diseases, such as cancer, osteoporosis and epilepsy, annually investing millions of euros in disease research and putting an emphasis on sound education system.

Neurology, and more specifically, epileptology, is just one of the areas where Finnish doctors have won global recognition. Epilepsy, a menacing incurable disease that appeared terrifying just a century ago, nowadays be treated successfully. This can be achieved with correct diagnostics and a properly selected individual treatment plan. Another key to success is highest qualification of the doctor who has a sub-specialization in the specific disease. In Finland, an excellent doctors can be found both in a large University hospital and in a relatively small private clinic. However, some doctors stand out even against other highly qualified professionals. Here we will tell you about some of them.

Dr. Mika Niemelä, Neurosurgery, Helsinki University Hospital

Dr. Mika Niemelä is Professor of Neurosurgery and Head of Helsinki University Central Hospital Neurosurgery Department. His clinical and research interests include diagnostics and treatment of brain aneurysms, brain arteriovenous malformations, brain cavernoma (cavernous angiomas), and dural arteriovenous fistulas. In his clinical practice, Dr. Niemela focuses on microsurgical treatment of benign and malignant brain and vascular brain tumors. His basic research interests include brain aneurism vascular wall changes, genetics and risk factors for brain aneurysm formation and rupture, as well as clinical outcomes of neurosurgery-related disease treatment. Dr. Niemela has authored and co-authored over 180 publications in reputable international medical journals and was a speaker at numerous international neurosurgery conferences.

International patients can get a treatment in the Helsinki University Hospital through HYKSin. Upon receiving a request from a patient, HYKSin professionals select a doctor who specializes in the specific diagnosis: in medicine, this is the only approach to achieve positive outcomes of the treatment.

Reetta Kälviäinen, Neurology, Kuopio University Hospital

Dr. Reetta Kälväinen is Professor of Neurology and Director of Kuopio Epilepsy Center at Kuopio University Hospital. Apart from clinical and research work at the Kuopio University, Dr. Kälviäinen serves in numerous international associations and panels, being the Chair of the Epilepsy Scientist Panel of European Academy of Neurology (EAN), the Vice Chair of the Finnish Neurological Society (Chapter of EAN) and a Steering Committee member of EpiCARE ERN. Dr. Reetta Kälväinen focuses on neurology and epilepsy, including epileptology, rare epilepsy syndromes, Unferriht-Lundborg (EPM1) disease.

“Epilepsy is not one disease, rather a vast array of various brain disorders. Understanding their causes and triggers helps to find the right and most accurate treatment. Epilepsy is the gate to the brain. And the most important thing in my profession is being attentive to patients”, Dr. Reetta Kälväinen describes her profession and everyday work. Prof. Kälväinen consults patients in Kuopio University Hospital through FinnHealth.

Heikki Österman, Vertebrology, Orton

Heikki Österman has specialized in traumatology and orthopedics since 2005, working throughout his entire career in this field at Orton. In his clinical practice, he focuses on challenging scoliosis surgeries and mentions rare skeletal disorders and related orthopaedic problems as another area of professional interest. Dr. Heikki Österman helps both adults and children.

For patients with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) and myopathies, instrumented spinal fusion performed by Dr. Heikki Österman is a chance to improve significantly the quality of life. Instruments designed by DePuy Synthes (part of Johnson & Johnson) that are used during the surgery, are established, as a rule, once for a lifetime, if the growth period of the spine is already over.

Sakari Orava, Surgery, Mehiläinen Neo Sports Hospital

Professor Sakari Orava is one of the most famous sports surgeons in the world. Throughout his prominent career spanning for over four decades, Prof. Orava has performed over 25,000 operations, authored and co-authored several hundred articles and publications in medical journals and talked at dozens international conferences. The choice of the medical specialization of Dr. Orava is not incidental: in 1962, Orava became Finnish National Champion in boxing in the featherweight class, and he was competing internationally in judo. For 12 years (from 1988 to 2000), Dr. Sakari Orava was the Chief Physician to the Finnish Olympic team.

The list of his former patients includes world-class athletes, such as football legend David Beckham and Olympic Champion Haile Gebrselassie, heads of states and top officials, however, most patients are regular people who are approached by the Professor exactly the same way as stars. Sakari Orava has devoted his entire career to sports medicine and traumatology, becoming a pioneer in the field. In particular, he developed techniques used in corrective surgery for muscle tears. Together with his younger colleagues from the Mehiläinen Neo Sports Hospital, Dr. Sakari Orava helps patients with any disorders of the musculoskeletal system.

Jyrki Törnwall, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Helsinki Hospital

Dr. Jyrki Törnwall focuses on surgical treatment of facial and oral cavity cancer, chin, facial, and jaw joint trauma. His expertise in oral cavity cancer coupled with mastery of modern technologies in complex surgeries of malignant tumors enables the doctor to reconstruct the tongue, lower or upper jaws, thus returning the patients the ability to speak, eat and continue their work.

In addition to his work in Finland at the Helsinki Hospital, Jyrki Törnwall spent several years in England and in the USA. Currently Jyrki Törnwall is a member of the Finnish Medical Association, Finnish Dental Association, Association of Maxillofacial Surgery, European Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and Finnish Surgical Society.