John J. Knightly, MD



Clinical Interests

Complex spine surgery, minimally invasive spine surgery, stereotactic radio-surgery, tumors of the spine, endoscopic neurosurgery, trauma


Dr. Knightly is board-certified in neurosurgery and fellowship-trained in complex spine.


John Knightly, MD, graduated from Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and went on to receive his MD from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in Newark, New Jersey. His post-graduate and residency training were completed at the Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland. Dr. Knightly completed a research fellowship in the surgical neurology branch of the National Institutes of Health, in pediatric neurosurgery at the Children’s Hospital in Boston as well as completing advanced training in trauma at the Shock-Trauma Center in Baltimore. Dr Knightly completed a fellowship in complex spine surgery under the mentorship of Dr. Volker Sonntag at the Barrow Neurological Institute. He achieved Board Certification in 1998 from the American Board of Neurological Surgeons.

Dr. Knightly serves as director of neurosurgery at Morristown Memorial Hospital and the vice-chairman of Atlantic Health Institute, where he is also the medical director of the neuro-spine team. His areas of clinical interest include complex spine surgery, minimally invasive spine surgery, stereotactic Cyberknife radiosurgery, tumors of the spine, deformity, and trauma. He has been a leading proponent and developer of minimally invasive spinal surgical techniques. In addition to his clinical expertise in spine surgery, he also has a strong interest in neurotrauma. He is a co-founder and director of the Concussion Center at the Atlantic Neuroscience Institute, and has served as an independent/un-affiliated neuro-trauma consultant for the National Football League and the New York Jets.

He currently serves as Chairman of the AANS/CNS Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves. He has served as the chairman of the Quality Improvement Workforce for the Joint Washington Committee and is currently Vice-Chair of the Neurosurgical Quality Council. He chairs and serves on several committees with the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS), the Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS), and the Neuropoint Alliance Quality Outcomes Database pursuing his research interest in healthcare policy, clinical informatics, and quality improvement. Dr Knightly has also been appointed to the Physician Quality Panel of the National Quality Forum. He is a member of the Joint Section on Neurotrauma and Critical Care, the Congress of Neurological Surgeons, and the North American Spine Society.

Dr. Knightly was named one of the “20 Surgeon Leaders in Independent Spine & Neurosurgical Groups” by Becker’s Orthopedic, Spine & Pain Management Review. He is consistently listed as one of the Best Doctors in America and New Jersey, and is included in Who’s Who in America. Dr. Knightly has lectured frequently on spinal surgical techniques and quality in neurosurgery. He has written and published on his research interests in quality improvement in neurosurgery.