John J. Knightly, MD


Contact Information


197 Ridgedale Ave
Ste 225
Cedar Knolls, NJ 07927

Phone: 973-206-1477

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.


Dr. John Knightly 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, tumors of the spine using minimally invasive techniques and radiosurgery, 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.

Though a practicing neurosurgeon with a large practice in minimally invasive and complex spine surgery, Dr Knightly also currently serves as President, Atlantic Neurosurgical Specialists and Altair Health as well as Chief, Department of Neurosurgery, Morristown Medical Center and Vice Chairman, Atlantic Neuroscience Institute. Outside of his clinical work, his other areas of specialty interest and research include health care policy, outcomes and registry science, and quality improvement. He has served as Chair of the Joint Section on Disorders of Spine and Peripheral Nerves for the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS)/Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS) as well as chair of the of the Quality Improvement Workforce of the AANS/CNS and past AANS representative to the AANS/CNS Washington Committee.

On a national basis, Dr Knightly is currently Chairman, Board of Directors, for NeuroPoint Alliance and was recently appointed a founding member of the executive committee of the newly created American Spinal Registry (ASR). A Director on the American Board of Neurological Surgeons (ABNS), he also has appointments on several committees within the AANS, American College of Surgeons as well as the National Quality Forum.

Dr. Knightly has been 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 multiple publications regarding his research interests in spinal surgery and quality improvement in neurosurgery as well as editing a book on Neurosurgical Quality.