He studied medicine at the Universities of Heidelberg, Giessen, Paris and Berlin, receiving his doctorate in 1841 with a thesis on the construction of ductless glands. In 1848 he became an associate professor at Giessen followed by an appointment as a full professor of surgery at the University of Greifswald (1849). In 1868 he returned to Berlin, where he worked at the Charité until his death on 24 September 1895.
Known for his innovations associated with new surgical procedures, he is credited as being one the first to introduce Joseph Lister's methodology for antiseptic treatment of wounds to the European continent. During the Austro-Prussian War (1866) and the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71) he served as Generalarzt to the army.
His daughter, Mite Kremnitz (born Marie von Bardeleben), was a noted German author.